The Vision SLR was presented at the Detroit Auto Show in 1999 as 'Tomorrow's Silver Arrow'. This claim was reflected in every aspect of the concept vehicle. Designed as a Gran Turismo for the 21st century, it incorporated styling themes from the current Silver Arrow Formula One racecars and from the SLR sports cars of the 1950's, weaving them together into a new and fascinating design.
The body of the Vision SLR expressed dynamism and power. The striking front section with the V-shaped nose and the distinctive twin-airfoil design – a motif which was repeated at various points around the body and in the interior and was inspired by the Formula One racecars – harmonized with the four-headlamp design familiar from other models. The long and extended hood, the powerfully sculpted fenders and the gullwing doors of the Vision SLR were based on styling ideas first seen in the legendary SL models of the fifties and their SLR racing versions, in which Juan Manuel Fangio, Karl Kling and Stirling Moss romped from victory to victory. Expressive but by no means aggressive, the Vision SLR displayed a muscular body whose every fiber was taut and honed, poised to go into action at a moment's notice.
A dominant interior design feature was the wide, gently curving center console, with its circular controls, and the silver-painted 'spoiler fins' facing the driver and front passenger. These features replaced a conventional instrument panel and at the same time symbolized the state-of-the-art lightweight construction of the Gran Turismo. The cockpit featured two round, aluminum-rimmed instrument dials which recalled high-quality chronometers. These two dials – the speedometer and rev counter – featured a new technique which allowed them to accommodate other displays in their center. Traditional instrument needles had been replaced by indicators which moved on transparent plastic discs, so giving an unimpeded view of the displays. Carbon bucket seats, an oval steering wheel and state-of-the-art information technology such as the Cockpit Management and Data System (COMAND) were further notable features of the sporty interior.
The Vision SLR's chassis was made of a combination of fiber composites and aluminum which offered outstanding crash performance and also brought weight savings of approximately 40 percent compared with conventional steel designs. These materials were used in those areas where they brought the biggest advantages. The front crumple zones, which deformed to a predetermined pattern, were made of aluminum, while for the passenger compartment fiber composites were used. The extreme strength of these fiber composite components maximized occupant survival space even in a very severe frontal or rear-end collision.
For the first time in a Mercedes-Benz, an electrohydraulic brake system was used. This system used sensors and microcontrollers to precisely calculate the right braking pressure in a given situation, thus providing significantly enhanced safety when cornering or when driving on a slippery surface. Únder the name Sensotronic Brake Control (SBC), the system first went into production in the SL (R 230), premiered in 2001. The brake discs were made of fiber-reinforced ceramic and were capable of withstanding extreme stresses.
The front headlamps with adaptive lighting system and innovative high-performance diodes automatically followed the direction in which the driver was steering, thereby adapting to different driving situations. The result was significantly improved road illumination when cornering or making a turn. The xenon projector-beam headlamps provided both the low beam and the high beam, and the Mercedes engineers therefore referred to them as 'bi-functional'. This technology is based on shutters which, as well as ensuring precise compliance with the legal requirements on dipped beam range, automatically move out of the way when the high beam is switched on, thus allowing the full light output to be used. The high beam is supplemented by two long-distance spotlights.
The LED rear lights were particularly effective at warning when the vehicle was braking or making a turn. They were mounted on two 'floating' fins positioned one above the other which showed a close tie-in with the overall styling themes. A further light strip extended right the way across the vehicle above the rear bumper and housed the reversing light and the rear fog lamp, both of which were based on space-saving, high-performance neon technology. The rear license plate meanwhile was illuminated by means of a special luminescent film.
The Mercedes-Benz high-performance sports car concept was powered by a modified version of the high-torque naturally aspirated V8 engine used in the S-Class. Equipped with supercharging and an air-to-water intercooler, the 5.5 liter V8 developed maximum power of 410 kW (557 hp) in the Vision SLR, making it one of the most powerful engines in this displacement category. Maximum torque of 720 Newton meters came on stream at 4000 rpm, with 580 Newton meters already available at just 2000 rpm. The transmission was a five-speed automatic with Touchshift control. Performance was formidable, with a 0 - 100 km/h time of just 4.2 seconds and a 0 - 200 km/h time of 11.3 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 320 km/h.
Later in 1999, at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA), Mercedes-Benz presented the roadster version of the Vision SLR. In terms of styling and engineering it closely resembled the all-enclosed version, although some new themes were also aired, such as a soft top made of an innovative translucent material.
Ever since it was first unveiled in 1999, Vision SLR has represented Mercedes-Benz's idea of an exclusive sports car. There will be little change on that score even after the start of 'volume' production in 2004, since only 3,500 units are planned. Prior to the start of production various refinements were made to the bodywork and also to the engine, which now develops maximum power of 460 kW (626 hp) at 6500 rpm, with maximum torque of 780 Nm available between 3250 and 5000 rpm. As these figures indicate, the SLR is every inch a high-performance sports car. But with all the refinement of a Mercedes-Benz.Source - Mercedes-Benz
DaimlerChrysler announces the Mercedes-Benz SLR
• Super sports car for the 21st Century
• Development and production at McLaren Cars Ltd
• Total investment of approx. EÚR 200 million
• Bodywork made of carbon fibre and high-tech materials
• Design with traditional and modern styling elements
DaimlerChrysler today announced that it has entered into an agreement for the design and production of the Mercedes-Benz SLR with McLaren Cars Ltd. The two companies will invest a total of approx. EÚR 200 million in this project. The vehicle will reflect the heritage, philosophies and styling of Mercedes-Benz and will be produced utilising the latest state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques at the new TAG McLaren facilities currently under construction in Woking, England. The market launch of this super sports car is scheduled for the year 2003.
Through the concept of the Mercedes-Benz SLR, DaimlerChrysler and McLaren intend to ensure the transfer of technology and image from their successful Formula 1 partnership to series production, while at the same time reviving the myth of the Silver Arrows with this super sports car. In the opinion of experts, the segment of top-class sports cars - at which the Mercedes-Benz SLR is aimed - will almost double during the next five years and reach an annual volume of approx. 2,500 units. DaimlerChrysler expects to be able to meet up to 20 percent of the demand in this segment. The major markets for the Mercedes-Benz SLR will be the ÚSA, Europe, Japan and Middle East.Hubbert: 'The benchmark for 21st Century sports cars-
Prof. Jürgen Hubbert, the DaimlerChrysler board member responsible for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars: 'By designing and producing the Mercedes-Benz SLR, we will once again underline our globally leading position in the field of technical innovations. The Mercedes-Benz SLR is an incomparable combination of the brand's characteristic design, future-oriented innovation and unparalleled safety, quality and performance - in this way, it will become the benchmark for 21st Century sports cars. McLaren is the ideal partner for us to develop and produce the Mercedes-Benz SLR in close cooperation.-
Ron Dennis, Managing Director of the TAG McLaren Group: 'Today's announcement represents one of the most important milestones in the development of the TAG McLaren Group. It is, of course, our intention to bring the same level of focus to bear on this project which has seen us achieve success with Mercedes-Benz in Formula One. I am sure the SLR will reflect the total commitment to excellence that both our companies constantly strive to achieve.-Bodywork made of high-performance materials
With the decision in favour of series production of the Mercedes-Benz SLR, the Stuttgart-based brand returns to the segment of the legendary Gran Turismo. The two-seater will continue the tradition of the legendary Silver Arrows from Mercedes-Benz and will secure pole position among tomorrow's high-performance sports cars with ground-breaking technical innovations adopted from Formula 1.
Like the current McLaren Mercedes racing car which carries the three-pointed star, the super sports car will have a bodywork made of an intelligent combination of carbon fibre and other high-performance materials which ensure maximum rigidity and occupant protection at a weight that will set the standards in this category. Exemplary handling stability and safety will be provided by features such as optimum aerodynamics, advanced electronic control systems and fibre-reinforced ceramic brakes.Top-class values in terms of torque and road speed
The Mercedes-Benz SLR will be powered by a V8 engine with an output of more than 400 kW/544 HP. The car has a target weight of 1,400 kilograms, which will permit top-class acceleration and speed. Equipped with a supercharger and a special water-based charge air cooler, the engine will develop a maximum torque of more than 700 Newton meters upwards of 4000/min.Front section in Formula 1 design, gullwing doors reminiscent of the 300 SL
The fascinating bodywork design, clearly identifying the super sports car as a Mercedes-Benz, is characterised by the balanced integration of traditional and modern styling elements. The front section - with Mercedes' characteristic 'four-eye face-, arrow-shaped front and distinctive double wings at the lower tip of the front end - reflects the fascination of the current McLaren Mercedes Silver Arrow
design. The design of the engine hood and fenders newly interprets features of the SL sports cars from the Fifties. Likewise, the gullwing doors, which open automatically by means of gas-pressure springs, are a modern-day interpretation of the legendary Silver Arrows the Stuttgarters launched in the Fifties.Source - DaimlerChrysler